Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon by John Hemming

From The London Times:

Monkey385_315295a It would be hard to find someone better qualified than John Hemming to evoke both the natural splendour and biological complexity of Amazonia and the impact of the white man and his technology, from the knife blades that so entranced the Indians, to the chains that linked them as slaves under the horrified eyes of Roger Casement and others, to the D-9 bulldozers of today chewing up the rainforest for soya bean plantations. With a shelf full of distinguished books and papers on the Amazon, this former director of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) reassures his readers, without conceit, that he really knows what he is talking about. Describing the great English mid-19th century botanist Richard Spruce’s terror of getting lost, “even when not far from salvation”, Hemming comments, “Getting lost is one of the few fatal dangers in this environment. I have also experienced the panic of finding myself alone and disoriented in unexplored forests, far further from help than Spruce was at that time, knowing that if I continued in the wrong direction I would never survive.”

More here.